When it comes to business success your staff are one of your most crucial assets. Not only through the knowledge and ideas they bring, but in how well they carry out your day-to-day business operations across sales, support, marketing and product development.
When your employees are happy and committed, not only are your customers happier, but your productivity will be maximised too.
So, what does it take to keep staff like this?
In a nutshell employee engagement is the key, which we will go on to talk about next.
What is employee engagement?
Essentially employee engagement is all about the emotional commitment that an employee has to an organisation and its goals. It also refers to the work an organisation does in trying to establish the right conditions for staff to optimise their work efforts each day, fully commit to their organisation’s goals and values, and be motivated to contribute to that organisation’s success. The thinking here is that fully engaged staff are much more likely to be productive and higher performing.
Employee engagement needs to be based on trust, integrity, two-way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members. It’s an approach that should increase the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. It’s also something you should be able to measure, nurture and dramatically increase as a result.
Why create an employee engagement action plan?
While we’ve communicated the value of employee engagement, we cannot overstate the importance of having an action plan.
Essentially, with an employee engagement action plan you’re able to.
- Identify, prioritise and talk through the key engagement drivers
- Commit to those changes that will have greatest impact
- Hold everyone accountable for the results of your employee engagement initiatives
Given that only around 30% of all staff are engaged in their work, it’s more important than ever to measure and improve engagement. It’s also crucial to demonstrate to your employees that your organisation is serious about their feedback and acting on it. Having a highly visible employee engagement plan is crucial to this process.
What to include in an action plan?
Traditionally after issuing staff with an employee engagement survey, the way many organisation’s dealt with that feedback, was simply to hand it over to managers with no clear way forward.
In contrast, with an effective employee engagement action plan in place, each manager should be given best practice guidance and recommended actions to focus on, to help drive improvement within their teams.
To be effective employee engagement action plans should look to include steps such as the following.
Example employee engagement activities
When it comes to staff engagement and your employee engagement plan ideas, there’s a lot to consider if you’re to improve it and develop a more positive and supportive culture.
A good place to start is to ensure you’re really listening to your workforce. Whether that’s having an ‘always on’ channel available for employees to leave feedback or voice concerns, or regularly issuing them with an employee engagement pulse survey to quickly check in on their mental health and wellbeing. You also need to ensure that you’re engaging new staff as soon as they join, not just existing employees. It’s all about building a culture to support engagement.
To support this, it’s important that you’re carrying out a range of different types of employee engagement activities. This could include anything from more general employee engagement activities to more fun and innovative ideas to increase staff engagement.
When you’re working on employee engagement action plan examples, it’s always useful to have some suggestions to refer to help inspire you. That’s why we’ve outlined some suggested employee engagement activity ideas for you to think about below.
General employee engagement activities
Recognise actions that demonstrate core company values
Your core company values shouldn’t just be something outlined in your mission statement, but values that your staff embody in the course of their everyday work. It can therefore be very powerful and motivational to publicly recognise employees who model core principles and demonstrate them at work. Frequent recognition for embodying company values, helps reinforce behaviours you want to encourage and deepens the meaning of your organisation’s values.
Offer new recruits a company culture coach
Having outlined the importance of embracing company values, you might to consider assigning new employees with a buddy from another team or department to help show them the ropes.
Not only can this help new staff to learn about your company values, but it can also offer a chance for them to get to know co-workers outside of their immediate work group. This will also help to boost cross-team communications further down the road.
Consider regularly hosting an “Employee of the month” award
When it comes to great employees, we all have them, and they typically provide continually optimal performance.
Recognising hard work and achievement in the workplace, helps boost employee morale, encourage healthy competition and a positive atmosphere. With increased motivation, you also get better staff engagement, happiness and retention.
Subsequently, ‘Employee of the month’ awards are a great way to show your best employees that you see their hard work and appreciate the efforts they are putting in and thus one of the best employee engagement activities that you can invest in.
Fun employee engagement activities
Make space for socialising activities
More informal opportunities to interact with their colleagues can be hugely beneficial to staff motivation and engagement. Think about creating areas where employees can take a quick break and interact. A lunchroom, which besides couches and a coffee machine, includes a couple of leisure activities, which could be anything from a ping pong table to a pinball machine, can be great in helping employees to unwind and recharge.
Throw leaving parties for existing staff
This might seem a strange one at first, as turnover is not usually the easiest of areas for organisations to talk about.
However, celebrating a new opportunity for a departing employee in this way, could actually help to lift the mood of other staff, by giving them the chance to say their final goodbyes. It also shows remaining employees that their organisation does actually value all the hard work they put in.
Celebrate staff members birthdays
Many workplaces have a way of honouring their employees. So, consider making staff birthdays your own excuse for fun.
Besides gifting your staff, a gift card on their special day, you might want to lay on a few snacks and drinks for all employees to toast their birthday with them.
Innovative employee engagement activities
Celebrate your people not just their work
Your staff are much more than simply their accomplishments at work. Take every opportunity to celebrate your employees and teammates and their accomplishments outside of work. Bring cupcakes for an employee’s birthday. Showcase community awards they receive. Buy them a graduation present. Your employees are so much more than employees—and recognising that will go a long way.
Offer a ‘welcome to the company’ card/gift to new recruits
To really engage new hires to your business as soon as they join, think about presenting them with a welcome card, gift, or email.
However, it’s equally important to introduce them to the rest of their team. So, make sure you do this as soon as you can.
Consider running some bring your pets to work days
This might sound a little far-fetched, but research has revealed that 72% of Brits think their stress levels would improve with animals in the workplace. The same research demonstrated significant differences in perceived stress between the days when a dog was present and absent. In fact, it also indicated that the simple act of stroking a pet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Such benefits have not gone unnoticed, so much so that there is now an official bring your dog to work day.
Benefits of employee engagement activities
When your staff are truly engaged, your teams go from being good to great, challenges turn into opportunities and your people give their all for your business.
It’s why managers are often told that they need to work on employee engagement. However, the concept of engagement is sometimes hard to visualise in the real-life workplace.
So, to help you understand what employee engagement really looks like here are five key benefits that it brings.
Measuring engagement strategy success
All these benefits are inspiring to think about when you’re putting together your employee engagement activities plan. But you still need a more concrete way of measuring the success of your engagement strategy and activities if your business is to keep moving forward in the right direction.
A good way of measuring your engagement strategy’s success is to survey your staff with an eNPS survey. An employee net promoter score (eNPS) survey, measures staff happiness and their willingness to recommend others to work for your organisation (see our eNPS calculator for an example of how this is calculated). So, by measuring this before initiating your engagement activities, then again after they’ve been up and running for a while, you’ll get a better sense of how successful your strategy’s been.
Ultimately, research has proved that when staff are engaged, they’re happier and more productive. So, as long as you’re able to get the right engagement action plan and activities in place. And you’re able to prove it with these types of performance metrics. You will be right on track to achieve your business objectives.